End in sight for Common Good controversy

THE community council has no objections to plans for the town’s common good cash.

A private meeting lasting just over an hour was held in Tower Mill on Tuesday night when members of the community council heard a presentation by council leader David Parker about the contentious plans to pool amounts of revenue from eight of the region’s common good funds into one single investment strategy trust.

Currently, Hawick is joined with Kelso and Jedburgh in a Roxburgh fund.

Community council chairman John Hope said: “The outcome is that things aren’t really going to change except for the fact that there’s going to be eight common good funds within this investment strategy rather than three as there is at the moment.”

Earlier fears had been expressed that control of the money would be taken out of the hands of Hawick’s six councillors who would be at the mercy of their colleagues at Newtown St Boswells when deciding on various grant applications or funding projects.

However, Mr Hope has been assured this will not be the case. He added: “It’s only when we are asking to spend a lot of money – over £10,000 – that we have to go to the council, anything under that falls under the control of the six Hawick councillors.”

While in response to questions from Councillor Jock Houston, Councillor Parker stressed that in no way did it involve any of the land or properties and that Hawick could decide how much it invested and if it wanted out at any time.

He said: “It will be for the Hawick members to consider carefully the needs of their common good and what level of investment they wish to make or not.”

Meanwhile, the war of words between Hawick councillor Zandra Elliot and Councillor Parker has also ended.

Councillor Elliot had accused the local authority leader of being a “bully” after a meeting on the common good earlier this year, but after a meeting of the two she said: “While this was an emotional meeting at which feelings ran high, I fully accept that Councillor Parker is not a bully.

“I am pleased that we can move forward from this and I will continue to fight for what is best for Hawick in terms of common good strategy.”

n Letters, page 14